Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Environmental Law Research Guide

Provides an overview of federal and state sources related to environmental law, including water law.

Federal & State Codes

Titles related to environmental law can be identified using the table of contents of federal and state codes. However, a subject index is the most efficient method to find individual water laws in federal and state codes, as it allows you to use subject keywords to find specific code sections. Subject indexes are available in print codes and in legal databases. In addition, if you need to find all code sections resulting from a specific enacted law, use a popular name table. This type of table identifies specific code sections that were created or amended by specific sections of an enacted law. Federal popular name tables are available on Westlaw, Lexis, and the Office of Law Revision Counsel's website. Below is an example of the table from the Office of Law Revision Counsel for the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996.

State codes also utilize popular name tables. In Westlaw, a state's popular name table is located in the related "Tools & Resources" materials on each state's code page. Lexis does not provide popular name tables for state codes. For publication sources of state statutes, see our individual state research guides.

For more on researching statutes, look at our Statutes Research Guide and Statutory Research Tutorial.

50 State Surveys

50 state surveys, as indicated by the name, provide a survey of state laws on particular topics. They are a great resource and provide an efficient method to identify individual state laws. They are found in multiple resources, including legal databases, treatises, and via publicly available websites.

Links to 50 state survey collections in legal research databases:

Using Google is the easiest way to find 50 state surveys created by government agencies, research institutes, NGOs, and law firms. Simply search for the topic plus the phrase 50 state survey.

Compiled Federal Legislative Histories

ProQuest Legislative Insight is the Library's primary resource for compiled legislative histories. This databases allows for keyword searching through the full-text documents of an entire compiled legislative history.  You can search by public law or statutes at large citation or by popular name.

In addition, there are compiled legislative histories available in HeinOnline:

Federal Legislative Documents

A complete collection of federal legislative documents dating back to the first Congress can be found in ProQuest Congressional.

A listing of freely available federal legislative materials collections can be found under Free Sources of Legislative History on our Free and Low Cost Legal Research Guide.